Giving It All Up for Faith - An Interview with Eduardo Verastegui
Beliefnet interviews the star of 2006's Bella and one of the members of the great cast for the upcoming historical war epic For Greater Glory.
When I turned 28 I realized all these things that I’m sharing with you, I made a promise to God that I would never use my talents again to do anything that would offend my faith, my family, or my Latino culture. I discovered that Latinos today have been stereotyped in a very negative way in the media. The bandito, the criminal, the gang member, etc., very few times do you see the Latino having an opportunity to be a hero. But there are real heroes, like in this movie For Greater Glory Anacleto Gonzalez Flores is a family man, a man of faith, a man of character, a peaceful man who was called the Mexican Gandhi because he wasn’t afraid to use to his talents to serve and to make a difference. He wasn’t afraid to fight for something bigger than himself to the point that if he has to give his life he will, and he did, he sacrificed everything to protect religious freedom and he became a martyr. That’s why I was so inspired by him, he’s my true inspirational hero role model because of what he did with his talents, with his life, and the last words that came out of his mouth were “Viva Christo Rey” (“long live Christ the King”) in real life. So that’s why I think it’s very important, knowing how much media influences what people think, especially knowing how much youth have this tendency to imitate what they see in film and in television, we copy and we behave in the same way. You are what you read, what you see, who you hang out with, that’s why right now I choose carefully. Anything I do or produce, it has to have enough ingredients promoting truth, beauty and goodness.
Where you familiar with the war and your character prior to seeing the screenplay?
When I got the script I knew about this war and this character, but only a few years before. Before that I didn’t know anything. I was completely ignorant about the topic. I didn’t know about the Christeros war, I didn’t know about this dark period of Mexico in the 1920s when religious persecution happened and more than 200,000 people died in a horrible way because of this war. I did not know anything about this because in public school they didn’t teach me [about it]. I felt embarrassed, like I didn’t know about my own history… then I discovered that most of the people in Mexico didn’t know about this topic and I discovered that one of the reasons why it is not taught in public schools… is that we don’t feel proud of what happened in Mexico. We always like to celebrate the beautiful things; our culture, our music, our food, but not this horrible internal war between the government and the church. The second reason is [that] it’s such a delicate thing that they want to bury this wound.